Race: biological or cultural Essay

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Race: Social Concept, Biological Idea

Race, in the common understanding, draws upon differences not only of skin color and physical attributes but also of language, nationality, and religion. Race categories are often used as ethnic intensifiers, with the aim of justifying the exploitation of one group by another. Race is an idea that has become so fixed in American society that there is no room for open-mindedness when challenging the idea of racial categories. Over the years there has been a drastic change with the way the term "race" is used by scientists. Essentially, there is a major difference between the biological and sociological views of race.

In 1758 a Swedish botanist named Carolus Linnaeus established the
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(1).

Biological anthropologists have intensively studied and described the biological variations that exist in the human species. Anthropologists agree that there are three major types of explanations for the variations within and between animal species. Natural selection, proposed by Charles Darwin, is the first explanation. It refers to how, in a particular habitat, variations in hereditary traits enable some members of a population to survive and have more offspring that inherit the favorable traits of the parents. (6).

A second explanation is called gene flow. The flow of genes occurs because people from one population mate with those in another. In the colonial history of the United States persons who had emigrated from Europe mated with enslaved Africans. After the Civil War people from these two populations were able to marry in some states, and informal mating continued in all states. Geneticists in the 1950s compared hemoglobin traits in African Americans, Europeans, and West Africans and concluded that as much as 30 percent of the measured traits in African Americans came from European mating. Today in the United States those people who identify themselves as black or African American range in skin color and other traits from light-skinned to dark-skinned. Various patterns of gene flow are

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